Belfast Telegraph

Tax giveaway for big banks truly shameful, says McDonnell

Banks have been given a "sneaky" multibillion-pound tax break, Labour has said.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said the Government used the Autumn Statement in November to continue cuts in the Bank Levy.

Mr McDonnell said that reductions in the levy, a tax on the value of the liabilities of UK banks, will see a Treasury loss of £5.4 billion in revenue by 2020.

Labour said Bank Levy rates announced in the March 2015 Budget would have brought in £18.5 billion by 2020, but now that will be cut to £13.1 billion.

Mr McDonnell said Chancellor Philip Hammond was wrong to continue with the Bank Levy cuts originally brought in by his predecessor George Osborne.

"Philip Hammond tried to sneak out the fact that he has continued this cut in the Bank Levy, which will provide big banks with a tax giveaway larger than under even George Osborne.

"The fact that we are seeing such a large handout to the biggest banks in our country at a time when we are seeing cuts to our schools, NHS and a funding crisis in our care service is truly shameful.

"Labour wants to see a fair and progressive tax system in which everyone pays their fair share, in order to build a country where no-one and no community is left behind," Mr McDonnell said.

Liberal Democrat finance spokeswoman Susan Kramer said: "At a time when our NHS is in crisis, Brexit is crippling future prosperity and ordinary families are struggling to make ends meet, cutting taxes paid by the biggest banks is simply the wrong priority.

"Instead of cutting the banking levy, the Government would be better placed listening to banks on the need to remain in the single market, so that these institutions stay in the country, paying tax here, instead of hastening their plans to move abroad."